The Gleb Botkin Family 2:
Still writing off-site and posting when I can get access. There seem to be added pages to the thread. Hopefully it’s mostly the cross talk and not questions, because I have not had time to scan the thread, but will get back to it when I can.
The family settled out in West Hempstead, Long Island, in what was probably a lower middle class neighborhood. It was difficult for Gleb and Nadine to understand the impact of that life, public schools, etc. on their children. From what Marina said, they must have expected that their children would just “naturally” come to develop the same manners, tastes, etc., as theirs. Of course that is never the case in this country. The youngest brother thought their table was not elegant because they did not set out a toothpick cup, like his friends!
However, the household was orderly, and full deference was given to “Father,” and his work which include both commercial art, illustration and his writing, which produced 8 published novels, plus the popular history The Firebird, as well as The Real Romanovs and The Woman Who Rose Again. Like most writers he produced a number of novels that went unpublished (whose manuscripts I have preserved). Gleb also held jobs as an illustrator, art director, art editor and other functions in publishing, commuting to NYC.
From Marina, I learned that there were never any “cross words” in the family, except for the petulance of her sister, Kyra. While Marina recalled sitting on their front steps waiting and wishing Father would come back from visiting Anastasia, there was never any “resentment” of their father’s commuting, of his intense involvement with Anastasia when her place of abode permitted, which was not constant, but intermittent during the brief period she was here. From Nadine herself I know that there was never any resentment or jealousy of time given to Anastasia. After all, such service and loyalty was in the backgrounds of both of them.
Some time after Anastasia’s sojourn here, Gleb was stricken with a disabling illness that prevented his commuting and working for an extended period, and a close friend came by regularly to help him regain the ability to get outside and to walk. Shortly the Depression came on and the family was in dire straights, surviving by aid from friends. Marina put herself through Smith (’45) by student loans which she repaid with interest. None of the brothers went to college. The youngest stayed on at home even after marriage. So, there was no friction, regardless of his “detachment” from his father’s concerns. Once they were working, the two girls supported their mother and father.
If anything bothered the children as adolescents and young adults, it was Gleb’s decision to grow a beard and take on some of the air of a more aged person. His increasing devotion to his church (which, incidentally required a legal action to get chartered – a sort of religious rights case of its day), did not bother them. However, some of the publicity it got annoyed them. The church did annoy Gleb’s sister, a devout R.O., who spoke to me of it as “That religion that Gleb invented.”
So, summing up, Gleb’s involvement with Anastasia’s affairs, was to his children and to Nadine, just what made up his life, as it was with other families and their fathers’ work.
Nadine was absolutely devoted to Gleb and knew how essential she was in his life. Marina and I discussed that more than once, how she could not bear to be separated from him for long. I observed that when she had to come to Virginia for care without him at one time.
I hope that covers it all, if I have left some point open, let me know.